Last year, the U.S. Congress passed legislation to end the practice of “fire borrowing,” where the U.S. Forest Service “borrows” money from forest management accounts to pay for escalating wildfire suppression costs. Yet this “fix” doesn’t take effect until 2020, and the Forest Service was forced borrow $720 million in 2018.
Congress needs to pass a spending measure immediately to return this funding to the Forest Service in order for the agency to implement projects that are important to our forests and communities. The U.S. House has already acted on a bill that fully repays the accounts affected by “fire borrowing” in 2018. Due to issues unrelated to forestry, the U.S. Senate so far has failed to provide the funding the agency needs, right now.
The failure to act on a 2018 Emergency Supplemental spending bill could lead to highly negative consequences for the Forest Service. For example, needed reforestation, road repair, and post-sale habitat work could be delayed or canceled, leaving forests worse off than before, reducing future forest productivity, and missing opportunities to protect or enhance habitat and fish passage.
Please take a moment and send a note to your Senators by clicking here and urge them to repay the Forest Service before the current stalemate causes real and lasting damage to the agency and forest management activities.